Now the situation at my work is getting really interesting...!
Tomorrow was supposed to be my last day at the Sillenbuch location, and starting next Monday I was to be transferred to the Killesberg house (where, long story short, my help was needed)... but they just told me TODAY that perhaps I can stay longer in Sillenbuch!! When my boss told me this on the phone, I screamed with happiness =P lol! (she's cool so I'm sure she didn't mind :)
I just LOVE my job!!! (and how many people can say that?) I feel SO lucky that I found this place... the whole thing has been an amazing experience... I don't even know where to start.
This is where I work, btw: Kindervilla
It's a bilingual preschool, and they have three locations in Stuttgart. It's not that I don't want to work at Killesberg... but well, it's just that at this point, I feel like my colleagues and the kids at Sillenbuch are like my family. We all get along so well... it's just comfortable. So tomorrow I'll find out what's gonna happen... I kind of feel like I'm hanging on the edge right now! kind of exciting... ^^ so I don't really mind =P
See, I was only supposed to do this job temporarily. I had another gig lined up for this summer (which I WAS really excited about) to lead programs for groups of schoolkids at an organic farm... but it actually fell through, turns out there was very little work available for me there. And that's not even the reason I want to keep working at Kindervilla, though... I have to admit that this job just really exceeded my expectations regarding how great it would be. That's just the truth... I didn't expect that I would love working with toddlers so much... but I really do, and I'm quite surprised about that. Of course, a huge factor is my colleagues... I just love my team, they are so cool!! They made this experience great for me and really, I have no idea how I can thank them enough for accepting me into their house like they did <3 They made me feel comfortable and accepted there... and I feel like I belong there, actually. I really didn't expect that either... and so, if and when I am transferred to Killesberg, I hope they accept me into their family too! :)
But I actually wanted to write about why I love my job so much...
I love all the kids... they are each special in their own way. The place is really just this intense concentration of cuteness. We have 17 kids at Sillenbuch... I mean, you know what it's like to be overwhelmed with the cuteness of a two-year old? So it's like that, times 17... every day! It's just great!!
You know you love your job when you're excited to go back on Monday, or after a holiday :) When I realized that I'm looking forward to going to work, well... that's what started convincing me that this might actually be the right direction for me ;)
The kids make me smile and laugh... sometimes, when I really need it. The other day at work, I was having extreme PMS problems (if you know me, you know I suffer REALLY bad from that) so I was laying down waiting for the painkillers to kick in (I try to avoid taking them, but sometimes it's absolutely unbearable) and while struggling to put up with the pain and discomfort, I look at these kids and they make me SMILE. which is like, achieving the impossible!! The kids are powerful in that way. They're healing, for me... <3
Working with kids reminds me of the little things that can be so wonderful, that we often forget. One of our girls, Ella, was really excited to go on the bus one day. I actually wasn't there, but my coworker told us how she was freaking out about being on the bus. I guess she inspired me... cause after that, I started appreciating my commute to work more ;) I mean, buses ARE pretty cool, right... but we mostly just take them (and other forms of transportation) for granted, don't we?
The language aspect of this job is actually fascinating. I speak English with two of my coworkers, and German with the others (which is great for me!). And I almost always speak in English with the kids... once in a while I'll throw in something in German if I feel like I really need them to understand me. But what's amazing is that most of the time, they DO understand me in English... cause really, our communication tends to transcend words anyways. I point, I gesture, I use facial expressions... so they get it. The older kids (like 2 or 3 years old, haha) speak back to me in German... and it works :) It's easy somehow... feels natural, actually. I'm sure that they're picking up some English from me, so that when they start learning it in school, it will strike them as familiar ;)
Another interesting aspect is that I thoroughly enjoy working with a team of women. We are seven women there (... not that I wouldn't like it if there was a guy, but I suppose there aren't so many guys in this profession). It's just lovely to have this flow between us... we're all just taking care of whatever needs to be done in the moment, like this harmonious motherly community. And there's always something to do! We don't have assigned tasks... we just go with the flow. It's really awesome... and I think it's rare, to find such a great team like this. It's one reason why I want to stay in my house... when I'm transferred, I'll have to adjust to a new team, and a new flow... maybe they do things differently (?). But I'm sure it will work out just fine... ;)
I have been learning so much from my coworkers. They are incredibly skilled... and I'm like this sponge that soaks up some of their talents and ideas for working with kids of this age. It's definitely not always obvious, how to teach the kids and deal with them in an effective way, but my coworkers continually impress me... and I admire them a lot. In fact, this is one reason why I'm looking forward to working in Killesberg... so that I can learn even more from other colleagues :)
At the moment, I feel so deeply satisfied because I'm getting a good response from the parents there... which means a whole lot to me. Today, (anticipating that I'm leaving the Sillenbuch location) one of the mothers told me that she's so grateful that I took such good care of her little one-year old girl (who is so freakin cute, i love her!!!!) I mean, this feels like a high honor, when the mother herself compliments you... and she really meant it. I told her how much I appreciate that she says that... and that it has been a pleasure to help take care of her girl. Another family invited me to come live with them in their house (but in a separate apartment, and to help care for the kids once in a while)... an offer that I'm considering for later this year. A number of parents have expressed their gratitude for my work there, and are asking me to babysit... I mean really, it may seem small, but this feels to me like success.
Overall, I think I love this job because it somehow feels important to understand the psychology of little ones. I love working with kids, in general... also older kids. As far as I can tell... my "career" goals fall somewhere in the intersection where children meet sustainable food systems... I suppose those are two of my major passions (and I do have several!). I want to help kids learn about gardening, how to grow their own food... and to connect to the source of their food. I'm also interested in strengthening sustainable school food systems, and increasing access to healthier food in schools. Kindervilla has awesome food, by the way... it's freshly cooked every day, and the kids love it. These kids are of course too young to understand such concepts about food... but I do believe that they can understand some very basic things, and that I can start planting seeds in their heads ;) We actually did plant seeds the other day... they loved it! We had so much fun. These little ones are actually smarter than we think, in my opinion... and they can form lasting memories. If we can have fun planting seeds, well... for me that is satisfying work, and in fact, I think it's meaningful ;)
It may seem kind of odd.... but I think my favorite part or moment of the job is when I finish changing the kids' diapers. Yup! you read that right. Why on earth...? because, its actually a beautiful moment. When I'm done changing them, I like to put my hand behind their neck to support their head while they sit up... and when I take them into my arms again, I really don't know why but it's just this magical moment of love... with each of them. It's like, they're so vulnerable and they just trusted me completely... it's a bonding experience. It's probably triggering a maternal response in me, which is why it feels oddly powerful. I mean, the feeling is so deep... I could almost cry just thinking about it. When they sit on the table, it's at the perfect height to kind of slip the kid right onto my hip so I can carry them. But sometimes I stand them up on the table to help them get dressed... so they're a bit taller than me (and I can look up at them :) and then they usually just kind of fall into my arms and trust me to hold them. One of our boys, Niklas, does this kind of dramatically... he almost lets himself plunge down and somehow KNOWS that I'm going to catch him. It's full trust, it's just... wonderful.
With all that in mind... I'd have to say that the deepest reason why I'm into this work is that I feel like it's preparing me to become a mother myself. Learning how to deal with young ones is so enriching... I know I am learning SO much. I'm certain that, if I become a parent, I will carry these experiences with me into motherhood... I will look back and remember each child and what they taught me. Now I start crying... ;(
Kindervilla is planning to open a kindergarten later this year, and my boss says that she'd be interested to have me work there :) So I feel that I have just started to plant some seeds in this line of work... let's see what grows out of it!
ps. i should clarify that really the only major downside of working in Killesberg is the commute... it's one hour each way with bus/train, so two hours total :/ I just moved recently, and Sillenbuch is only 15 minutes away by bike!! BUT... I love listening to music with my headphones, and I can use the time to brainstorm about melodies and lyrics for vocals ;) and besides... being on the bus is COOL!!!!! haha =P